The virtual Royal Windsor Horse Show is set to return this year with two new events – and additional disciplines.
Following the success of the first virtual Royal Windsor (13-17 May) in which more than 4,200 competitors took part, organisers have announced the online show will return as a new series with two editions; the Windsor Autumn Series 2020 (25-27 September) and the Windsor Winter Series, the date of which is to be announced. The annual event was cancelled this year owing to the coronavirus pandemic and replaced by an online show.
The autumn event will be live-streamed across three days and includes 26 free to enter showing classes, from riding horses and hunters to show ponies and side-saddle. The winter event will have an “international flavour” with classes for breeds from around the world such as quarter horses, Iberian breeds and Arabians.
Chief judge Nigel Hollings, who is back by “popular demand”, said he is delighted to be returning.
“The standard of entries was incredibly high at the last event and I really enjoy the virtual format, which gives me the opportunity to share feedback with the audience as I judge,” he said.
“I was particularly impressed with the number of international entries in May. To be a winner against entries from all over the world you really do have to be the best.”
New additions to the event include a Riding for the Disabled Association class, an equitation showjumping class, and Pony Club home international dressage.
The equitation showjumping is open to all and requires competitors to submit a video showing a short test including three fences of any kind, with one stride between each, at any height. Marks are awarded for rider position, use of aids, straightness and technique, and the shape and impulsion of the horse. The class will be judged by professional judge, showjumper and event rider Julian White, with a championship on the Sunday (27 September).
The Pony Club home international dressage will feature teams from England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales, with live judging and commentary. The autumn event will act as a precursor to a worldwide competition to feature in the winter series later in the year, where teams from all 18 Pony Club countries will be invited to compete in a “never seen before” event.
Pony Club chief executive Marcus Capel said the organisation is “hugely pleased” to be able to run its home international dressage competition on the Virtual Windsor platform.
“The competition highlights the hard work and talent of our young riders, and we hope by holding it online we will enable many young riders to enjoy and be inspired by the competition from their own homes.”
In addition to the virtual competitions, a masterclass will be streamed each day featuring world-class riders talking about grand prix dressage, training tips and riding international courses. A virtual shopping village will also return with some special show-week discounts.
Royal Windsor show director Simon Brooks-Ward said the team had been so thrilled by the response to the first Virtual Windsor, it was not a difficult decision to build a series of events.
‘Virtual Windsor 2020 has really shown how exceptional the equestrian community is’
‘Our hope is that it will go part of the way towards recreating the magic’
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“Although 2020 has been a challenging year, Virtual Windsor has shown us that the equestrian community has a really positive outlook and will come together to enjoy competition and celebrate equestrianism,” he said.
“I cannot wait to see how the series’ fares and to welcome all the international competitors and visitors to the event.”
The schedule for the autumn event will be available from 10 July, with entries opening in August and closing early September.
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